Down Ampney Parish Church

All Saints Church
Photos by
John Wilkes of Cam
near Dursley, Gloucestershire
The Gloucestershire
Photo Library

Page composition by
Allan Taylor of Vancouver,

More photos of All Saints
Having read about its splendid stained glass, I visited All Saints, Down Ampney and was not disappointed. The village was the birthplace of the composer Ralph Vaughn Williams.
There is also a large mansion there called 'Down Ampney House' - ancestral home of the Dennis family. In the church I was interested to see the RAF window; made by 'Goddard & Gibbs' in 1974; and designed by A.E. Buss. In addition to that there was a host of splendid High Victorian windows and a wealth of wonderfully elaborate woodwork executed in oak. The pulpit and rood screen were formed in this extremely intricate way. The font is a plain hexagonal bowl on a tall high-waisted pedestal.
On leaving the church, I photographed the contemporary lych gate and met a man tending the flowers on his father's grave. He was Mr Wickes and he had been born and bred in the village. He worked for a time at 'Down Ampney House' when the preferred mode of transport was horse and carriage.
There used to be an RAF airfield in the field on the other side of the road from the church. Many casualties from Dunkirk were brought back to the base. The entertainer Jimmy Edwards was stationed at Down Ampney. The RAF experimented with towing 'Clothier' gliders behind Dakota aircraft. That same type of aircraft is featured in the stained glass inside the church. One attempt to tow two gliders at once nearly ended in disaster. The Dakota struggled to pull the pair of gliders aloft but the aircrew soon realised the strain was going to be too much.
They let the gliders go. One knocked the top of the church tower at nearby Cricklade but managed to land. The other came down in a nearby field without casualties. After the war the Italian Circus came to the village. The elephants escaped for a while which caused a fair measure of havoc.